Many years ago I wrote a review of a logic analyzer for Embedded Systems Programming in which I called their user interface archaic. The manufacturer did not like this at all and vented to Tyler Sperry, the Editor of the magazine at the time. Their complaint had all the usual content (we are a major advertiser, the author is biased / stupid, etc.) and how dare you publish a review that says our UI is bad. Tyler responded by asking them "Is it?". Enraged, they did a poll of their users to prove that they were right.
LarryM99, good for you and for Tyler. If you write a fair and accurate review, a good editor will and should back you up. I've been in that situation before and as long as you;re right people should respect that. Unfortunately, not all will. A bad editor would not only leave you out to dry and make an example of you to show everyone else who's the boss.
Some years ago, a company came out with a line of products and I thought I'd compare the published specs against several competitors. While doing my research, I noticed that one and only one of the competitor's products had identical specs. I noted this in my story, being careful not to accuse the first company of either copying or reselling the products of the competitor. Of course, the company screamed.
My editor asked "is Martin right?" They then agreed that I was in fact right. All I did was compare specs, as anyone interested in buying such a product should do. The company never exactly admitted to private branding, but it was obvious and they got caught. Fortunately, the people at this company had the integrity to drop it there and move on.
There's a lot of legitimate private re-branding going on, not just in T&M, but also in my area (industrial automation). A lot of companies apparently feel they have to be "one stop shops" and don't want to admit they can't do it all.
Also, there's at least some co-development. To take a recent example I came across, Mitsubishi and Sick sell the same safety PLCs; Phoenix Contact & Leuze also sell the same (but differerent from Mitsu/Sick). Mitsu & Sick are open about the relationship (it was co-developed, although I suspect Sick was the lead partner). Phoenix & Leuze aren't; my guess is that it's primarily Leuze (since they make a lot of safety equipment), although there might be Phoenix involvement (Leuze is using Phoenix cases and terminal blocks).
My favorite way is Banner's: they sell a couple models of Lovato safety contactors. They are open that they're Lovato (they don't even re-brand them) and do it as a service to customers (and it is a service, since those particular models are cheaper from Banner than from Lovato).
Interesting about the rebranding. I guess you always have to ask "what's in a name"--like with an automobile.
I had a friend who lost a hub cap off his minivan at a national park; he knew he lost it and decided to drive around the loop where he lost it until he found the hubcap. Round and round he went looking for hubcaps (there were a lot --- surprisingly many). He finally found one from another manufacturer's minivan that he knew to be exact model of his minivan, except for the rebranded name; he decided that was good enough and took it. His wife finally noticed the replaced hubcap a fews months later.
I worked for a company that private brands a lot of test equipment from Asia. It was Taiwan at the time bu now it's China. There are many companies that do the same. The identical multimeter shows up under many brand names.